I started reading Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman this month and I have been really enjoying it. In fact, I’m now reading it over the two other books I have on the go.
It’s the kind of book that I would have been embarrassed for my mother to give to me, but I would have loved to have had when I was a teenager. It’s the kind of book that I will be abashed to give to my daughter, but that I want her to be able to read and talk about with other people.
In the book, Moran talks about all those things that I’ve spent time wondering about and wondering if anyone else thinks about. All the things that made me insecure and alone as a teenage. One of the greatest gifts you can give a teenager is letting them know that other people share their insecurities.
Moran is a feminist, as am I, and she describes feminism in a way that’s perfect for those women who don’t like the term because of the ‘bra-burning’ connotations. She asks two simple questions: 1) Do you have a vagina? and 2) Do you want to be in charge of it?
She puts this definition out there while pointing out that 42 percent of British women in surveys don’t consider themselves feminists. It really doesn’t make sense for a woman to disagree with the idea that women should have a real voice in society.
The further along I get in the book the more I want to recommend it to women that I know, I want to make my husband read it knowing full well that parts of it will make him uncomfortable. I even discussed the chapter on pubic hair with my mother, which should have been weird but wasn’t.
Her main point is that women have never been equal to men, women have never contributed to society the same way men have because we have never had the opportunity. There are people out there who act as though women haven’t been capable of being equal, but the fact is we’ve had a lot of things holding us back, most notably men and pregnancy.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the book making me as thoughtful and uncomfortable as the first half.